MY VOTE COUNTS is campaigning to improve the accountability, transparency and inclusiveness of elections and politics in South Africa to give us all a stronger voice:
We want two key changes for accountability and openness:
- For the South African electoral system to be changed so that people have a say in electing individual MPs from their constituencies.
- For complete transparency and reform of the funding of all political parties, making it mandatory for all parties disclose where their money is coming from, and to limit influence peddling. We don’t want corporations to own our parties and we don’t believe in ‘one rand, one vote’. Everyone must know where political parties get their funding.
Why must the electoral system be changed?
Since 1994 South Africa has used a proportional representation electoral system. The benefits of this system are that every vote counts (the number of votes a party gets determines the number of seats it gets in Parliament), and it enables minority groups to be represented. But because voters elect parties rather than individuals, it limits accountability because we voters cannot choose our representatives.
The Constitution also says that ‘Every adult citizen has the right to stand for public office and, if elected, to hold office.’ But the Electoral Act only allows registered parties to participate in an election. This blocks our individual Constitutional right to run independently or be selected as an individual by our party.
What we want:
mixed member proportional representation
Reintroducing a strong element of constituency-based representation would enable voters to elect individual MPs and promote accountability. But in a system of mixed member proportional representation, your vote for your preferred party is still counted at national level, even if the MP you preferred is not elected in your constituency. Your vote is counted at both constituency and national level, and the balance of parties in Parliament will continue to very closely reflect the preferences of all voters.
Our government’s own commissions have recommended these changes
Cabinet previously set up the Electoral Task Team led by Frederik Van Zyl Slabbert to explore how the electoral system should be changed. In short, the Task Team’s 2003 report recommended that the electoral system be changed so that it’s a mixed system, whereby 300 of the 400 parliamentarians would be constituency representatives elected as individuals, and the remaining 100 parliamentarians would be elected in terms of proportional representation.
In 2009, the Independent Assessment of Parliament again recommended that ‘the current electoral system should be replaced by a mixed system which attempts to capture the benefits of both the constituency-based and proportional representation electoral systems’.
In respect of party funding reform, many have called for reform and transparency, including the ANC’s own treasurer, Matthews Phosa.
We want government, Parliament and our political parties to listen to the many voices calling for these changes and apply these past recommendations. You can read more about the history of these developments in our timeline.